Tablet Wars! BlackBerry BlackPad Facing Serious Competition
Research In Motion’s (RIM) coming BlackBerry Tablet is going to be released in the middle of the coming Tablet Wars. The device—possibly going by ‘BlackPad’ as its official name and codenamed the ‘Cobalt’—promises quite a bit if any of the rumors regarding it are true. However, there certainly are a lot of other competitors out there and each of them wants to cash into the lucrative market that Apple’s iPad is currently enjoying near total domination in. Can the BlackPad compete? Let’s take a look at what it offers and how it stacks up against what is known about its competitors.
No one can deny that Apple’s iPad has become a cash cow for the company and builds on the success of the iPhone and iPod touch. With rumors abounding that two new models of the iPad coming out later this year—a 7” screen version is supposedly in the works—many of the features that its competitors are hoping to have an edge up with (more RAM, faster processor, video conferencing ability) are expected to ship with these two new models. Whether or not the iPad can hold onto such a strong lead like Apple’s iPod lineup has over the rest of the MP3 player market remains to be seen, but with Apple’s track record, you can be sure we will read stories about people will trampling each other to death trying to get one of these around Christmas if supply shortages crop up.
Besides the iPad, this is the only other tablet in this list that currently is on sale. However, its 5” screen is seen by many as a major hindrance to adoption and it has not been selling as well as had been hoped. It does though have a front facing camera for video calling. Dell probably should have decided if it was going to make a smartphone or a tablet since they compromised and delivered a lackluster combination of both. Personally, I don’t see the current model as a major competitor and we will have to wait for later revisions to see how Dell decides to improve it.
Ah yes, HP’s Hurricane. This tablet is still stuck in rumor land, but it’s almost a sure thing. Unfortunately, little is known about this device right now except that it will be running an updated version of Palm’s WebOS (HP bought Palm in case you’ve been out of the loop). I expect this to find a nice niche of users. As a former Palm user, I hope that it’s good enough to keep Palm’s legacy alive.
Cisco’s bad boy Cius tablet is expected to be the most expensive of all of them. Of course, Cisco has a legitimate reason to charge so much (think around $1,000) for this, since it will be able to dock to Ethernet networks, be designed for video conferencing, and have a lot of really customized Cisco software that gives it support for running cloud-based applications. I think that besides large companies, many will shy away from this.
With its 10” display, the Adam is sure to turn a few heads. It also packs a beast of a dual core processor, something that should find its way into smartphones soon. While this is not expected to start selling until the end of the year, it has quite a few power user features like HDMI, USB and microSD support. It also will supposedly cost less than the iPad. This might end up as a strong competitor if it’s marketed right.
Samsung’s tablet has been nearly lost in all of the iPad, Cius and BlackPad hubbub. That’s a shame too since the company’s Galaxy S smartphones are beautiful pieces of engineering. While the Tab still hasn’t gotten a real release date, it is sporting a 7” and a processor clocking in at over 1 GHz. Hopefully, this device delivers and provides some real competition for its competitors.
The BlackPad still has not gotten an official release date, and even the screen size is still debatable. Whether or not the rumors are true that this tablet will require a Bluetooth docking connection to a BlackBerry smartphone to go on the Internet when Wi-Fi is unavailable is cause for worry. However, the BlackPad is expected to have hardware accelerated Adobe Flash support and RIM is known for delivering solid devices—even if they are not the most technically impressive. A tablet offering would certainly be a change of pace for RIM, and here’s hoping that it has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Okay, kidding on that last part. If RIM puts a real keyboard on this then I don’t know if I could take the company seriously anymore.
So what do you think? I didn’t want to go into all of the technical specs for these devices since most of them are still being kept secret and what we do know is from leaks and rumors. Besides, a few extra hundred MHz of processing power isn’t something that you should base your tablet purchase on. Wait for these to come out and read the reviews. I’m giddy to see that RIM is going to enter the Tablet Wars, and I hope the company delivers a fresh product that can keep the BlackBerry magic going well into the next decade. Sound off!Cisco Cius, tablet, hp hurricane, Dell Streak, BlackBerry BlackPad